#11

Most Common Belly Dance Questions


Q. What's a normal refund policy on products in the belly dance industry?

A. Research and shop carefully. This is a special interest neighborhood.


Most people in the industry know who’s who in belly dance and they are pretty honest. So, if there is a crook they won't operate for long. But remember the industry is made up of artists, musicians and other creative folks who are not in a financial position to make the same guarantees that the corporate giants like Costco can. They cannot afford to give away their merchandise as promotional materials, so they need customers to be honest and diligent about refund requests.

Physical Merchandise

Every merchant's policy is different. Most merchants will replace or exchange merchandise such as costumes, hip scarves, and finger cymbals if they are returned promptly and in a resalable condition, but you will be responsible for your own postage and handling. Sometimes, though, it is stated that all sales are final, period.

Intellectual Property

Videos, DVDs, CDs and cassettes are a different story. Even small businesses can be expected to replace defective merchandise. But, beyond exchanging defective merchandise, they can't afford to refund or exchange programs once shipped. This is because of copyright infringements, pirating and the vulnerability of the medium. It's like going to a movie. The theater doesn't guarantee you'll like the movie, its music or its content, but they do guarantee it will be correctly screened from an undamaged print.

Research your purchases carefully and/or be prepared to take a risk. You can hear a lot of music samples on the Internet these days, for example, Brothers of the Baladi, Steven Flynn, and Sirocco. However, hearing a piece through a computer speaker can be disappointing. Remember, music can grow on you with time. Listening to new music is how our tastes expand and grow. If you buy only what you currently like, how will you grow? Often, we might not like something the first time we hear it, so never throw a CD away too quickly.

Books are easily marred so they are not usually returnable if they appear to have been read. Many merchants operate under a policy that all sales are final on printed materials.

Large corporations like Amazon, Borders, and Costco can afford to make exchanges on intellectual property because of the sheer volume of business they do. Now some consumers are conditioned to think that is a reasonable assumption everywhere, but the small businessperson can't operate this way. Even for Amazon and Borders, the rule for computer software, videos, DVDs and CDs is 30 days for return or exchange but not once the shrink wrap is opened. These corporations have made it harder for the smaller entrepreneur to stay in business. Do not expect to get a refund from most small venders on music, videos, or books. When it comes to intellectual property, in most situations, the wholesalers will not take back opened or unsold merchandise from a vendor either.